Four years ago, the then Scottish Conservatives leader David McLetchie resigned after a dispute about taxi fares. Over a period of 5 years, he had claimed an average of less than one taxi fare a week to the law firm where he both worked as a partner and carried on political business. Total of less than £900.
Compare this with the shenanigans at Westminster. Harry Cohen, a London MP, claiming £310,000 in housing allowances and Jacqui Smith, in charge of the English legal system, claiming expenses to stay with her sister, not to mention the porn film scandal. And the latest events, surrounding the alleged smear campaign.
The Government is promising 'new rules' and 'new guidelines' on MPs expenses and on the behaviour of advisers. In doing so, they completely miss the point. The point is, that moral people (in my humble opinion) do not need rules to tell them that if they live and work in the same city, they should pay their mortgage out of their salary and the most they should ever claim is the travel between two workplaces (which ironically was the undoing of David McLetchie).
Surely, moral people do not need to be told not to charge barbecues, porn films or bath plugs to their expense accounts. Moral people do not need to be told not to tell lies about others' alleged sexual preferences. If a moral person lives in London and works between two London bases, the most they would dream of claiming for is an Oyster card.
It is not the system, nor the rules nor the guidelines which need changed. It is the people. The sooner there is a General Election and we get shot of this shower, the better.